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Thailand - The Bustling Land of Smiles

Welcome to Bangkok

sunny 33 °C

We arrived in Bangkok on the 3rd of August. The flight was long, with a stopover in London, but BA's air cot for Zavian really made a difference. This was the first time we had the chance to use one. It was kind of like a car seat and he slept for a good portion of the flight and Naim and I were able to eat, sleep and even watch a film, which felt like an incredible luxury.

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The Bangkok airport was quite impressive, really new and modern. They zipped us through passport control in the baby line and we went to collect our bags. Of course, something had to be missing! This time it was Zavian's stroller, but they assured us it was on the same flight tomorrow, so we would just make do with the baby carrier until then. Bangkok was hot. I think each place we go to is progressively hotter. But not only is it hot here, but incredibly humid. I was hoping Zavian would be able to cope with this for a couple weeks. The poor fella has already been dealing with his first tooth the past week. Check it out, although you have to look very closely!

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We hopped into one of many hot pink taxis lined up and headed towards the hotel. Zavian had a little sleep as we sat in standstill traffic for what should have been a 35 minute ride (probably at least double that). We highly recommend the SkyTrain (their elevated rapid transit system for general travel around Bangkok as traffic is a huge problem. Taxis are cheap but it take up to 3 times as long during working hours to get anywhere.)
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We arrived at the Sukhumvit Radission Suites, which was a new hotel in the popular area of Sukhumvit Road. It was shiny, sleek and really comfy (and super airconed). Exactly the type of place you want to be in when you have been on a long flight, are super sweaty and have a baby literally glued to your torso in the baby carrier. We rested, cleaned up and then ventured out for dinner.

The Radisson
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Street food is everywhere, and although some can seem dodgy, a lot of it is fine and really yummy. Our first taste of Thailand of course had to be street food, so we each had a satay skewer on our way to the dinner. It was great and no repurcussions the next day. Yippee! We ate around the corner at a place called Suk 11. It was Biggy' s recommendation to us (the conceirge). He was on the larger side for a Thai person, so maybe that's why he is called that? :) Suk 11 is actually a hostel, but with a cool outdoor restaurant and backpacker vibe to it. It was pretty happening that evening.

Bangkok streets are busy. Like any major city, it never sleeps. There is the constant buzz of cars, motorcyles and tuk tuks, music from some restaurant, bar or club, street vendors for food, clothes, anything you could want. However, there is not a lot of car horn honking and the streets are generally pretty clean, which I was pleasantly surprised about. There are massage parlors every few feet and lots of people constantly asking you if you want a taxi, tuk tuk, massage and goodness knows what else! You never have to go far to find food, the street vendors making all sorts of interesting delights for pennies, lots of restaurants, little no name spots with plastic chairs and tables. There are mini camper vans that are actually bars and they pull over, throw out a few folding chairs, have music and lights and voila! Instant bar.

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The Sky Train
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Oh, and about Thailand being called the Land of Smiles. Well, it is absolutely true! Thai people always give you a big smile, whether it is for happiness, embarassment, disappointing news or anything else! The smile is considered the most appropriate reaction to any possible situation. What the smile means depends on the 'type' being used - out of a possible 13 they have in their language! You really do notice it as a visitor.

Zavian however got the most smiles. Thai people adore babies. The Greeks and Italians really like babies, but the Thais take it to a whole new level. Women, men, taxis drivers, vendors, even groups of men, no one hesitates to stop to talk to Zavian, to touch him, ask to hold him and a few even kissed him! One woman actually stopped traffic in the middle of the street market to play with him, tickle his feet and pinch his cheeks. She then ran into us on our way out of the market and did it again. Zavian could be Thai himself, as he smiles constantly, and that only invites more attention. He can't help but smile, even when he's crying. He will stop crying if a stranger comes up to smile at him, and then when they go, he just goes back to whining like nothing happened. It's hilarious. The only down side to their love of children, is that even if Zavian was sleeping, they would go up and touch or talk to him. They don't seem to mind waking a sleeping baby, but as a new mum, I kind of minded that sometimes. Every moment of peace counts! Oh well, it was always with good intentions and Zavian generally went back to sleep. Here is is asleep on a tuk tuk with me.

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Posted by jknazef 22:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok

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Comments

Top tip: never literally glue your baby to your torso...

Great to read about your endlessly sunny and upbeat adventures while the rain lashes down here for the umpteenth day in a row. Glad you're all having a good time but it would be nice if you could pretend that there's just a little bit of stress involved in travelling the world with your newborn to make me feel better about not doing it!

Nice tooth by the way!

Douglas

by Douglas

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